It is just as likely a horse will break away from a tie at an endurance ride as they will break out of an electric fence. I've seen tied horses freak out so badly they ended up kicking the heck out of the trailer they were tied to and injuring themselves to the point they didn't even pass the pre-ride vet check. In fact, the last horse I saw, who did this recently, ended up needing a vet immediately.
Besides poor training, the other fault with electric fences is the folks putting them together. They don't do it correctly or even test it out to see if it's working. The most common mistake is poor grounding. That grounding rod needs to be more than a 6 inch metal tent stake.
If the fence isn't zapping your horse, they will test it and eventually get out. I use a deep cycle marine battery that I recharge before every ride. I spray all connections with an electrical coating that protects from corrosion and enhances conductivity. Touch my fence and you will end up on your butt, especially if it's been raining. My horses will not touch this fence.
I've seen hundred mile horses tied up to their horse trailer the entire weekend before and after the ride. I'm sorry, but this bothers me a great deal, I don't care who the owner/rider is. The horse doesn't get a chance to move around at all except during the ride. Some of you may be convinced that this is not a cruel thing to do and the safety value of it all is what's most important; I disagree.
If my horses started that awful habit of breaking out of their electric fence I would put them in the horse trailer for the protection of the other horses and humans at camp. Till then, I'll keep them in a fence where they can move around, lie down, and relax. Don't forget you can also position your trailer and vehicle to act as a wall outside your electric fence. If you're that limited for space where you can't put up a 12' X 12' pen for your horse, than that ride is too crowded and the chances of a loose horse increases dramatically, no matter what method you use to restrict their freedom. The larger the number of horses and riders at the campsite the greater the odds of having a loose horse become. Throw in a compacted camp, because of limited space, and the odds go up even more.
Most horses that I've seen loose at an endurance ride previously had a rider on their backs. The rider gets dumped, and the horse freaks out when the saddle, usually an English one, goes down along their side (the same side the rider falls from) and ends up hanging below the belly. Something about that saddle under their belly that totally discombobulates any horse, no matter how well trained. IF you want to eliminate electric fences because you believe they are such a great danger to others, then let's, also, eliminate the number one cause of this loose horse syndrome: the riders. In fact, just so we can all be totally safe we might as well eliminate the entire ride.
To get me to stop using the electric fence and tie my horses up to my trailer, you'll have to pry the charger and grounding rod from my cold dead hands. Till then, I will continue to CHARGE ON!
Howard (who has been to rides where they don't allow picket lines tied to trees, as silly as that sounds; next thing you know they'll ban you from putting anything into the ground)
----- Original Message -----
From: Roy Drinnan
Sent: Friday, November 22, 2002 6:37 AM
Subject: RE: [RC] electric fences
let me just add that you can't tie our horse to the trailer. We have a
number of destroyed halters, leadlines and bent trailer parts to prove it.
We do tie him during tacking etc, but he regularly gets loose during these
periods of time unless he is tied inside the corral.
its really quite funny. He is a old app with almost 5000 miles, mostly CTR.
He is a real lazy horse. He will stand, tied to the trailer, kinda snoozing
away, then all of a sudden he will come up tight on the lead. Either he has
slowly lowered his head or something made him turn, or something like that.
Its seems a complete surprise to him that he is tied. He sets back and
pulls for all he is worth. If you can get to him in time, he will relax and
let off the pull and go back to snoozing, but if you aren't close and the
trailer won't go along with him, he's leaving.
this is a 15.3 App gelding that is prety solid for a 23-25 yr old.
Once he gets loose and realizes the trailer has let go of him he just stands
He doesn't take that free spree through camp. he has gotten out of his
corrals, before the glow sticks, and is always found within 10 feet of the
pen, on better grazing.
Like alomost anything, this is a choice issue. I do agree with the problems
of one or two loose horses freeing a lot of others. I have been involved in
to many rescues not to be concerned. I have also rescued tied horsed from a
lot of problems too.
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